The much anticipated summer of cricket gets underway from the Adelaide Oval on Thursday as the Aussies take on India in the first of four tests.
It’s a new era for the Australians with expectations tepid after an appalling start to the year. Ranked fifth in the ICC World Rankings, punters will be surprised to learn the Aussies are favoured over the No.1 ranked side in the world, however there is plenty of optimism surrounding Australia with a strong pair of opening batsman and a crucial injury to the Indian side.
As we’ve seen through much of this year though, the bookies have often priced Australia well over the odds, adding further frustration as they continue to disappoint in both ODI and T20 competition.
We’ve analysed everything you need to know ahead of Thursday’s first bouncer, and our complete First Test Preview can be seen below.
Best Bet: India To Win @ $2.38
There are two very important stats worth considering when it comes to the first test:
- In their 44 test matches in Australia, India have won just five.
- Australia haven’t won a test series since Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft’s suspension.
A crushing blow was dealt to India last week with the injury to teenage batsman Prithvi Shaw, and although his withdrawal will cost the nation one of their top runscorers, it hasn’t exactly saved this test for Australia.
Stepping in for Shaw will be Murali Vijay, the 34-year old veteran who made a century last week after smashing home 26-runs in a single over against Cricket Australia XI. That kind of danger pales in comparison to Virat Kohli however, a face Australian fans are more than familiar with.
If you’ll recall, Kohli performed exceptionally at the crease last time he was downunder making four centuries – good for 692 runs. There’s no Steve Smith to rival those kind of numbers this time out, so if the captain slogs his way to similar numbers again, the Aussies will likely struggle to find a way back.
Player Pick: Tim Paine or Virat Kohli To Score 100 Runs in the 1st Innings @ $4.00
Man of the Match: Virat Kohli @ $7.00
To sledge or not to sledge – that’s the question for Australia.
It’s a hot topic of debate around the country, but the Aussies found out the hard way how well Kohli responds to mixed words last time they faced him on home soil.
Kohli’s average in Australia stands at 62, although the Aussies did get the better of him when they faced him away from home last year.
Aside from a potential war of words, the only problem this time could be the pitch. For the first time in a long time the Adelaide Test will be contested during the day, which should take reverse swing out of the equation and potentially limit the effect Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc have not only on the match, but also Kohli.
Australia Top 1st Innings Runscorer: Marcus Harris @ $6.50
A potential (minor) hand injury to Aaron Finch in the nets on Tuesday has placed further pressure on Marcus Harris as he gears up to make his test debut.
The 26-year old sensation has quickly become a fan favourite over the last 12-months after batting 250 not-out against NSW earlier in the year. Dubbed as Australia’s future opening batsman, Harris has shown plenty of promise against all forms of bowling and appears to possess the maturity at the crease to live up to the hefty expectations.
India Top 1st Innings Wicket Taker: Ravi Ashwin @ $5.00
The main criticism for the Australian selections is the overload of left-handed batsman. It certainly plays into Ravi Ashwin’s hands considering the right-arm off spinner has taken 336 wickets in 64 tests.
It’s worth keeping in mind the majority of Ashwin’s success has come back home in India, however he has taken 59 test wickets on away soil.
The Aussies be well aware of Ashwin’s talents after taking 2-122 last week against Australia XI, and after what has been a fantastic year for the 32-year old, it’s hard to see him accomplishing anything other than his usual top numbers.
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